ATLANTA — Presidential Scholar Varsha Sudharsan loves talking about books. An avid reader, she references titles that range from Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” to Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games.”
“You’d be surprised how many lessons you can learn from book characters,” Sudharsan said. “They’re fictional, but what’s the thing that makes them tick?”
It was a biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg that drew her to study law. Sudharsan admired Ginsburg’s ability to work hard in the face of obstacles.
“Wanting to act on legal issues and making a difference in our legal system and, in turn, making a difference in our world is something I’m really passionate about,” Sudharsan said.
She joined her high school’s mock trial team and was the president of the team her junior and senior years. She joined the Georgia State University mock trial team this year and was selected to write the opening statement for the defense in an upcoming competition.
“I love writing openings,” she said. “That’s the first thing that the jury will hear, so you need to make sure it sticks and make sure it lasts.”
She’s planning to participate in the Honors College’s bachelor’s/J.D. program which lets students earn both degrees in six years. She hopes to use her degree to advocate for issues she’s passionate about, like environmental and immigration law.
Sudharsan, who plans to major in psychology, has also been a vocal advocate on mental health issues. In middle school, she and some of her classmates started the Be Kind initiative, posting positive messages on every student’s locker as well as in their teachers’ classrooms.
“In high school, it wasn’t something that we could sustain, but I was able to join the student government at my school where we were able to do a lot for mental health awareness,” she said.
As part of the SGA, she helped organize a week-long campaign to draw attention to mental health that included guest speakers and training on how to identify and help someone who might be struggling with depression or anxiety.
Whether she’s getting lost in a good book, researching a topic for mock trial, or doing a de-stress activity with the Active Minds club on campus, Sudharsan is focused on how her passions can have a positive impact on her community and her world.
To learn more about the Presidential Scholarship, visit honors.gsu.edu/the-presidential-scholarship. Students can now apply to both the Stamps and Presidential scholarships, the university’s premiere academic awards, with one application.